Tag Archives: motherhood

10 Chores That Young Kids Can Do

This piece also appeared on The Grit and Grace Project.

One of the things I’ve tried to establish early in in my parenting is my desire to raise responsible children who contribute to their community (be it their family, classroom, society, etc). In our culture, this can be difficult… they’re busy, they want to watch TV, or they’re used to being told “You’re too young to do that.” But I’ve got 9 things my kids can and should be doing to contribute to the housework load.

1. Help unload the dishwasher. My kids do their plastic dishes, their cups/bottles/all those parts, and all the silverware (not including sharp knives). I just ask whichever of them is around when I need to get it unloaded, and almost always, they’re eager to help.

2. Put away their laundry. This one is a big one. We often watch some TV before bedtime, and I set a timer for 4-5 minutes at a time, and we pause the TV, and everyone puts some clothes away. Sometimes it’s their own clothes into their own dressers. Sometimes it’s towels, or something of mine or Hubby’s that I have them carry to our room for me to put away later. They’re quite good at helping, and they’re learning to keep their drawers organized… or everything won’t fit!

3. Clean up their toys/pick up their rooms. I don’t make them do this all day every day. We frequently have toys left out, even when we go to bed sometimes. But I do ask them to keep things fairly organized (in labeled bins!) and mostly off the floor. If it gets too out of control, we spend a morning or evening cleaning EVERYONE’s room. But I help, not really facilitate. They know what to do.

4. Bring dishes from the table to the sink. I like having them help clear the table. That way, they can’t just get up whenever they feel like it. They tell me they’re full, and I say when they can get up, take their dishes to the sink, get their hands and faces clean, and go play.

5. Gather/Sort/Switch over laundry. I have them bring their dirty laundry to the laundry room, and often to sort it, help me start a load, help me switch it to the dryer (they’re a little short to get in my top-loading washer), and bring it out to be folded.

6. Clean the table/windows/doors. I let them loose with a roll of paper towels and the Method Glass Cleaner. Boom. It’s not as streak-free as when I do it myself, but they learn that their contribution is valuable at any level.

7. Sweep/pick up crumbs. My kids really like to sweep, and I have a handheld broom and dustpan for them to get everything up off the floor. We try to do this once a day (but then again, it depends on the day).

8. Weed, water, and harvest in the garden. They love this one, simply because they love being outside. We’re teaching them to recognize weeds, and the right way to pull them up (getting the WHOLE weed). They’re also learning when our vegetables are ready to pick – or to eat right off the plant, in the case of several tomatoes and cucumbers!

9. Pack lunch. This one I’m going to start soon. Once I’ve given a good idea of what a healthy lunch looks like, I’m going to have things semi-prepared for my kindergartener to grab a few things to put in her lunch box each morning. I’ll choose a bit, and let her choose her snack and a few add-ins. That way, she’s more excited about eating it because she picked it.

10. Help make the bed. I haven’t set a good precedent about this one, but I often find myself having them help, even if it isn’t first thing in the morning. Having lots of decorative pillows can make the job cumbersome, but pulling up sheets and blankets and putting the animals on TOP of the blankets is pretty darn easy. As is helping Mom or Dad strip the bed and change the sheets! My kids like the putting-on of the pillow cases the best!

What are some things your kids to around the house? Are there other chores I should start my kids on early?

Things Toddlers Say

Happy Tuesday! Last week I was on vacation and allowed myself to NOT EVEN POST ANYTHING. So enjoy a couple of weeks’ worth of Crazy Things My Kids Say.

J: Did you know that sometimes when you potty, you can stand up? And then you face away from the potty and poop out.

J: Home is a better airport.

J, about 20 mins away from home: Did you know we’re so close to DisneyWorld?!

Hubby: We’re only about a 12 hours drive away.
J: I can count to 12!
Hubby: Reeeeeeeal slow.

Seeing the Charlotte skyline…
Me: Do you guys see that big building up ahead?
J: The one that looks like a giant big banana?!

EK: I want to be a baker!
Our friend Marie: Well bakers get up really early, like midnight, and work all the way until morning.
EK: I did not know that so I think I won’t.

EK: Hey! Watch out! I’m going on a big dump!
Me: *laughs hysterically*
Hubby: What?
EK: I’m going on a dump!
(Obvi she means pooping, in case we’ve gotten too G-rated in here)

J: I love you to the moon and back! And all the way around DisneyWorld!!

J, after riding in the car for a few hours: When I try to sit up, my booty hurts.
Me: From sitting on it so long? I’m sorry; we’ll stop soon.
J: I think there’s a swordfish back there, poking it.

Too much Disney movie watching…
Me: You’re trying my patience.
J: Like Mowgli is trying Sher-khan’s patience?

Me: You disobeyed me.
J: Like Simba disobeyed Mufasa?

Well, what are your kids saying these days? Let me hear the sillies!

We serve a loving God.

This piece originally appeared on Everyday Exiles.

Kids these days, am I right?

We’re expecting them to do more than they ever would have needed to ten years ago. We’ve been pushing them harder to act older, testing them more often than ever before, and exposing them to more than they should see or know about, years before they’re probably ready.

Recently, my kindergartener came home to tell me a girl in her class (who she’s buddies with, by the way) had a mom who just went to jail. At first, I wasn’t sure how to respond. When I didn’t say anything, she continued on to tell me that it was because the mom had talked to bad guys, and bad guys were sneaky. I could hardly disagree. She also said that the girl would be coming to school with her grandma from now on.

What conversation could I have with my kindergartener about jail? About why people went, how long they stayed, and what would happen after they got out? How could I ever explain to her that this could alter her little friend’s life? Did I keep my daughter on a “need-to-know basis”, and not discuss it further, since she clearly didn’t need to know? Or did I use it as an opportunity to enlighten her on a subject she shouldn’t have to know about at age five? I couldn’t protect her from what she’d already heard; I didn’t want to lie to her, either.

What I ended up saying was that she might take this time to be extra kind to her friend. The girl might not talk about her mom, and that was okay. She might talk about her, and my daughter could just try to be a good listener. She might try to be a really good friend, because the girl might be sad. But most of all, I reassured her that sometimes bad things happen, and we talk to Jesus about them. We asked Jesus to be with the girl more tangibly, and asked Him to tell us what we could do to help her in her hard season. Paul’s letter to the Colossians reminds us to clothe ourselves “with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience”. More and more, I find that children possess those qualities already, and we just need to help them develop. We can call it “character building”. We can call it “education” or “challenging” them. But what it really is is showing them that we live in a broken world, and teaching them to lean on Jesus while they’re here. It’s showing them that bad things do really happen, but that we serve a loving God, who will take care of us, even in the mess.

Things Toddlers Say

Happy Tuesday! I know it’s Tuesday evening, but it’s still Tuesday! Here are the funnies our kids have been giggling about this week – leave a comment and let me know what silly stuff your kids say!

J: Did you know I taught myself that bees make honey? I taught myself that!

EK, pretending: Do you want the eggs and steak or pancakes?
Me: Hmm… steak and eggs!
EK: The $1 or $100?
Me: I’ll spring for the $100!
EK: But that’s really expensive!
Me: But we’re pretending, right?

D, when he first woke up: I want to sit wif my blanket and watch Wall•e and Cars and Star Wars!
Me: I’ve taught you the perfect day.

J, carefully bringing me my half-full mug of tea: It’ll be a ‘saster (disaster) if I go fast!

J: When my two birthday comes, can I have the party at a Christmas gelato place?
(His birthday is at the end of December and he will be 5, just fyi.)

Hubby hands a milkshake to J. Wait a beat.
J: Uh, Mister! This milkshake is great!

J, randomly: I feel so ingenious!

D, wandering around the house: Where is J? I lost him!

D, handing me a belt: Hey! You want dis type of thing?

J, stretching his hand up: I’m just reaching for Jesus.

Talking about winking…
J: Did you know that pirates look like they’re w bling forever?! Because of their eye patch?!

Me: That was a big hiccup!
J: That wasn’t a hiccup- it was a burp!
Me: Was it a hiccup and a burp combined?!
J: No, it was a hiccup and a burp all mixed up together!
Me: Oh, okay.

Don’t forget to share what hilarious things your kids say!!

Things Toddlers Say

Happy Tuesday! We’re expecting some snow again tomorrow- can you believe it?! The kids are dying to be outside (like yesterday!) but most days it’s a little too chilly to be out for long. Anyway, here are some of our funnies from the week! Enjoy!

J’s latest way of getting out of wearing a jacket: Well, my skin keeps me warm in the weather.

J: Something’s poking me in this hat!
Me: In the front or back? I’ll fix it.
J: Never mind.
Me: Did you fix it?
J: No, I vanished it.

Necie: I didn’t come up here to hear y’all fight, believe it or not.
D, after a pause: Uh, not!

In the middle of the night…
Me: Good night. Go back to sleep.
D: See you tomorrow!

EK: I love that you always are never scared to try anything! I love that about you!
Me: Well thanks!
EK: You even like to try roller coasters!
Me: That’s true! I love roller coasters!
EK: I would only try one if it didn’t have the curly parts to it.

J: I did NOT dream about something delightful. I dreamed about a SHARP TOOTH!

What have your kids said that makes you laugh?!

Things Toddlers Say

Happy Tuesday, y’all! I thought it was spring, and then it snowed yesterday. March in NC, am I right?! Enjoy our funnies, no matter what the weather is!

J: I just fayell (fell)!
Me: I saw! Are you okay?
J: I was looking where I was going and I didn’t do anything I just fayell!
Me: *tries not to laugh as I comfort him*

Proof that D is picking up on his brother’s amazing vocabulary, this happened while I was helping him blow his nose…
D: Ack-chewy, I got more boogers. *blows again*

D: I want moopies!
Me: What?
D, handing me the lid and straw we always use for smoothies: Moopies! Peas? Moopies?

J: Mom! When I sneezed, you didn’t even bless me!

My mother in law let EK sit with her on Sunday at church, and have me this song she wrote during the service. I’m in love.

Hubby was chopping an onion, and D saw it and said: A ordament! (Throwback from Christmas ornaments I suppose.)

D: *falls and cries*
Me: Aww, what happened?!
J: He ran so fast that he fayell.
Hubby: You pushes him down and I saw you do it!
J: Sorryyyyyy!

There you have it – the daily hilarities of my family. What are your kids saying that’s hilarious?!

The Father’s Love

This piece originally appeared on Everyday Exiles.

The other night, as I was spending some one-on-one time with my daughter, who is five, she caught me off guard with a question.

“Mama, what’s the thing you love most about me?”

I paused to think for a moment. That’s a weighty question. Would a pause any longer than a second be interpreted as not being able to think of anything? Would a simple answer like “Everything!” be too flippant? Even if it’s true that I love everything about her (except the obscene amount of laundry she generates) it seems like a silly answer to give when she’s clearly asking me for specifics.

“Your smile!” I say. “And I love that you’re kind, and a great big sister.”

“What else?” she asks.

Here goes. “I love how excited you are to read! And I love watching you dance.”

It went on like this for a few more minutes, me naming things I love about her. Even as it became harder to pinpoint specific things that I knew she’d like to hear me say, I could that my words were bolstering her, giving her what she needed in the way of affirmation. Who doesn’t sometimes long to climb into the lap of a loving parent and hear the things about themselves that are good?

The idea of a loving Heavenly Father is in the forefront of my mind as a parent. While I know I could never measure up to His perfect and unconditional love, He presents Himself as a good model for me to follow. He knows what we need before we ask (Matthew 6:8) and He is even a Father to the fatherless (Psalm 68:5). His love has been compared to storms, ocean waves, mighty winds and raging seas. His love for us, weak and weary sinners, is the greatest example of sacrificing for the good of someone you love.

So come like a child, and ask Him to exult over you with loud singing (Zephaniah 3:17). He loves you and rejoices over you! He wants us to come close to Him (“like a little child” we’re told in Matthew) and allow Him to speak life and blessings into our lives. All we have to do is draw near. Like my daughter, who knows that if she comes to me, and asks for compliments and showers of love, I’m always happy to oblige.